Field Spillage

The spill from the pond at Hi-Crush yesterday is currently moving down the Trempealeau River toward the MIssissippi and is reportedly still visible. 

I spoke with Andrew Savagian at the DNR office in Madison this afternoon about the spill. The processing water from the pond was apparently very thick, which explains the need to drain the pond at Hi-Crush (since the driver of the bulldozer could not be found underwater) and perhaps why the spill is not disappearing as it flows down the river.

At this time field agents are sampling the water and trying to determine the content of the spill and the possible impact of the spill on wildlife. Reportedly there were no signs of a large fish kill or other signs of serious damage to wildlife - but those are early reports from the stream and the river. The DNR hoped to be able to release some information later in the day about the spill, but if it appears likely the DNR will be making proceedings against Hi-Crush for the spill they likely will not release any information until the investigation is complete.  

The Whitehall facility has a checkered history of production (in common with many of the Wisconsin sand mines - demand has been unsteady and many of the mines have had periods of going out of production). This facility in particular also has a spotty safety record, reporting 14 mostly minor accidents (not including yesterday's) since the facility opened. The mine has been cited 18 times for safety violations, paying a total of $2,887 in fines (again, not including yesterday's incident). 

Hi-Crush has not yet returned our call inquiring about the incident.

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Steve Hanson

Steve is a web designer and recently retired from running the hosting and development company Cruiskeen Consulting LLC. Cruiskeen Consulting LLC is the parent company of Wis.Community, and publication of this site continues after his retirement.

Steve is a member of LION Publishers and the Local Media Consortium, is active in Health Dunn Right, and is vice-president of the League of Women Voters of the greater Chippewa Valley

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